Imprint is the archive of my (Hannah-Clarke’s) personal writings. Since Tacoma Strong is a space that cultivates stories of Tacomans, as a Tacoman, this is my way of sharing.
Anytime I think, “Writing is hard.”
I hear Seth Godin saying, “Can you speak? Then you can write.”

Writing is intimidating. There is, of course, nothing unique about feeling insecure when creating just about anything. Anyone who creativity blesses (or curses?) understands the engulfing, but terrifying desire to make, to play, to change.

What scares me is being wrong. (again, nothing unique) That somehow the exposure of a process so intimate could lead to the criticism people seem consistently eager to dish out.

I’m on a mission to rip apart the notion that we can’t possess fervent conviction while being kind and compassionate.

That isn’t to say I plan to barrage this digital space with uncouth rants or thoughtless assumptions. It is also not a banner-ad for people to justify using language that perpetuates systemic pain placed on marginalized people. It’s not an excuse to be a dick.  

Erring on the side of fervent honesty can cross into aggression. Into a violence articulating itself across the boundaries of healthy communication. (I believe there is a place for aggression, but that’s a conversation for another time.)

But what is healthy communication? It’s easier for me to examine what it isn’t. It isn’t gas-lighting, it isn’t mud-slinging, it isn’t deflection, it isn’t sacrificing compassion for that sweeping generalization you believe validates your entire perspective. And perhaps what it really requires is the understanding that those things may still happen, but are redeemable. People aren’t inherently bad for not communicating flawlessly.

It’s easy to confuse zeal for aggression, for stubbornness.

In my experience the general reaction to having a strong opinion is that you are incapable of listening or being open. Does possessing conviction mean you may not also be malleable? By very definition they are opposing forces, but humans are experts at existing in paradox. Can we not be both tender and steadfast? Isn’t the ebb and flow the very thing that grows us? We rip, tear at our muscle breathing into the flame, before submitting to the rest that repairs and refines us.

Like exercise, like exerting any part of our being into a state of discomfort, it’s work. It requires intentional action. It’s painful to find the balance in committing ourselves to honest individuality while allowing ourselves to unfold and absorb all we don’t understand. The pain comes from the sacrifice of stories we tell ourselves. The sting that maybe we are wrong and facing the guilt or shame that lurks in those shadows. These narratives woven into our reality determine our reactions, our responses, how we communicate. For now, I’m just asking why? Why do I believe what I believe? Why are these the stories I have been told or tell myself? All I know for sure is creativity allows me to dismember my reality and improve on it.

By Hannah-Clarke Gilmore

Hannah-Clarke Gilmore does a lot of things and feels a lot of things. From her serving as a Realtor to her passion for the endless forms creativity takes, Hannah-Clarke aims to be the Leslie Knope* of everything she does. She uses her skill in video, design, consulting, and writing to help cultivate a closer connected Tacoma.

*If you don’t know who Leslie Knope is we HIGHLY recommend you head to Netflix and watch Parks & Rec. 😉